Former foreign minister and once-Liberal Party leadership hopeful Julie Bishop will replace Gareth Evans as the next Chancellor of the Australian National University.
In a statement released by Pro Chancellor Naomi Flutter, the ANU confirmed that Ms Bishop will step into her new role in January 2020, making her the ANU’s first female Chancellor.
Ms Flutter said that the decision to elect Ms Bishop came after the Chancellorship Forums held earlier this year, coupled with engagement with the Academic Board and student body representatives, which ‘highlighted the need for an eminent, distinguished individual, befitting our University’s stature’.
“It was clear you wanted someone who understands our distinctive role as the national university – contributing to matters of great national and international significance – and someone who appreciates the transformative power of universities, through their teaching and research,” Ms Flutter said to the ANU community.
Ms Flutter said she believed Ms Bishop was ideal for this role, particularly considering her commitment to education. She highlighted Ms Bishop’s leadership in bringing about the New Colombo Plan – an initiative aimed at lifting knowledge of the Indo Pacific in Australia by supporting Australian undergraduates to study and undertake internships in the region – as an example of this commitment.
Ms Bishop, the former federal MP for Curtin in WA, bid farewell to politics following a highly contentious Liberal Party leadership change, in which she was a frontrunner. She served as Foreign Minister between 2013 and 2018, and will replace Mr Evans, who was Australia’s foreign minister from 1988 to 1996 in the Hawke and Keating Labor governments.
“Gareth has served ANU for nearly a decade with incredible energy and intellect, always being a source of great encouragement, helping us realise our potential and providing wise, steadfast guidance to the University’s Council, three Vice-Chancellors and the executive leadership team,” Ms Flutter said.
“In the interim, Gareth has much still to do – including the launch today of our new Acton Campus Master Plan.”
In a pre-recorded message, Ms Bishop said she was honoured to take up the role of Chancellor of the ‘nation’s leading university’, and was looking forward to working with Vice-Chancellor Brian Schmidt and the ANU community to build on the “long and successful foundations created by so many individuals since 1946”.